PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Entrepreneurs Welcome Final Rule on Association Health Plans

By at 19 June, 2018, 11:01 am

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Labor (DoL) will unveil its final rule on Association Health Plans (AHPs), which broadens the types of associations that can be formed and who can join those plans. According to the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, the crushing cost of health coverage is a big pain point for entrepreneurs and small businesses, and as such the new rule is a welcome development, as affordable options in health coverage are desperately needed by small businesses, their employees and self-employed Americans.

SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan said:

“Health coverage costs have become unbearable for entrepreneurs and small businesses. Without meaningful action to curb costs or provide affordable choices, these rising costs will continue to weigh down the growth of small businesses and their ability to compete effectively.  Many tax and regulatory changes enacted over the past year and a half have been very positive for small businesses and our economy, but the burden of high health coverage costs must be addressed to enable entrepreneurial firms to reach their full growth potential, and for more people to pursue business ownership. This development is an important one for entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country,” said SBE Council president & CEO Karen Kerrigan.

SBE Council welcomes the proposed changes to AHPs, which are intended to fix current restrictions and barriers that prevent small businesses and entrepreneurs from using their market power and membership in associations to negotiate and access affordable health coverage for themselves and their employees.

The proposal would expand the types of groups that can create an AHP, allow for membership across state lines in metropolitan areas; by common state, cities and county; and allow self-employed and “gig” economy workers to participate in AHPs, among other changes. According to the DoL, consumer protections and healthcare anti-discrimination protections will apply to AHPs organized under the Final Rule and continue to apply to large businesses.

Important dates for AHP expansion under the Final Rule, according to a FACT SHEET:

● All associations (new or existing) may establish a fully-insured AHP on September 1, 2018

● Existing associations that sponsored an AHP on or before the date the Final Rule was published may establish a self-funded AHP on January 1, 2019

● All other associations (new or existing) may establish a self-funded AHP on April 1, 2019

Upon full review of the final rule, SBE Council will provide additional details and information to its members and network on how they can benefit from the new AHP framework.

CONTACT:

Karen Kerrigan, kkerrigan@sbecouncil.org  

Raymond Keating, Chief Economist, rkeating@sbecouncil.org

703-242-5840

SBE Council is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy, research and education organization that works to protect small business and promote entrepreneurship. For nearly 25 years SBE Council has worked to successfully implement a range of policy and private sector initiatives to strengthen the ecosystem for startups and small business growth. To learn more, visit SBE Council’s website: www.sbecouncil.org. Follow on Twitter: @SBECouncil

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